KANSAS CITY, Mo. — They have become the cheers heard around the country. Kansas City Chiefs fans are being accosted in the media for what many say was fans cheering as quarterback Matt Cassel laid on the field with a concussion.
But a UMKC Professor says the behavior of fans on Sunday shouldn’t be attributed to just Chiefs fans, rather to a mob mentality that is, rightly or wrongly, just a part of human nature.
“Basically conventional norms of behavior sort of take a vacation and the group mentality takes over. People do things they wouldnt normally do,” says Dr. Eve Benavides who teaches sociology at the University of Missouri Kansas City.
Benavides says studies show, the larger the group, the more passionate and extreme the people. And with that anonymity goes up and a person’s sense of responsibilty goes god.
“You can get away with more. And generally you give up, you suspend t the morals and conventions of normal behavior for whats going on with the collective behavior, in this case, the crowd,” she says
Benavides also points out that, though this so-called mob behavior may be giving Kansas City a black eye, it isn’t unique to passionate Chiefs fans.
“People follow the crowd, I dont think this makes Kansas City unique. This can happen often times in mob behavior. And to say that all chiefs fans are this way is also a little unfair as well,” she says.
Longtime Chiefs fan Joseph Shockey agrees.
“I don’t think its a trend, I just think its a part of the world we live in,” says Shockey.
Shockey wrote a heartfelt letter to Matt Cassel after the game.
“On behalf of myself, and all the true Chiefs fan, I apologize to you and the Chiefs organization,” said Shockey.
Benavides also says there is some question among sociologists if society as a whole is becoming ruder.
As far as Chiefs fans go, according to a 2009 ESPN report, Kansas City Chiefs fans are rated fifth out of the 32 teams in the league for their willingness to buy in and have a good time.